A critical comparative analysis of seven existing carbon tax systems with a view to deriving a related best practice within a South African context

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Solutions to the proven threat of climate change have attracted a vast amount of attention as evidenced by the convention on Climate Change hosted by the United Nations in Copenhagen very recently. But this was only the most recent in a series of conventions, treaties and other forms of agreements entered into in an attempt to stop the climate change effect from spiralling out of control. However, in the wake of such conferences a harsh question remains, how many of the proposed action plans are just those: plans? A plan is no more than a formalized thought until it is implemented and the effects thereof are tangibly observable to the general populace. Most importantly though is the factor of time. The planet cannot afford a drawn out and lengthy debate on the merits of the threats posed by global warming and then only contemplate possible resolutions to the threats so agreed to. Action needs to be taken immediately, and the action plans designed and implemented need to be effective without delay. Two of these tangible solutions that have been proposed are those of setting carbon emission caps and subsequently granting credits so as to facilitate a trading of these credits, namely the ‘cap and trade’ approach, and the other is that of legislating and implementing a carbon tax. Variations of both of these systems have been implemented by individual countries the world over with varying levels of success However, as one looks to the future; there is no consensus on a global solution to what is very much a global problem.

Includes bibliographical references (leaves 74-76).